The Importance of Natural Remedies for Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis is a condition that’s been around for awhile. In fact, recently discovered fossils indicate that dinosaurs exhibited similar symptoms of arthritis. (1) Even the Egyptians, Neanderthals, and Native American tribes have historically shown signs of various forms of arthritis.
Arthritis is an umbrella term for a number of joint-related pain diseases. There are around 100 known arthritis-related conditions that people of every demographic are vulnerable to. Impaired range of motion, soreness, and joint pain are common symptoms of many forms of arthritis.
Luckily, there are a variety of natural remedies that have helped ease symptoms for centuries. Even severe cases of arthritis symptoms find relief with these methods, making them favorable among physicians. When paired with healthcare, these remedies boost the our health and quality of life.
Natural Remedies for Arthritis Symptoms
When we’re experiencing arthritis pain, the last thing we want to do is exercise. However, physical activity helps with arthritis symptoms in more ways than one. For instance, physical activity helps us lose weight. When we’re overweight, our joints have a harder time supporting the extra pounds. This puts a strain on our joints and causes pain.
Exercising also helps naturally improve our range of motion, minimizes pain, and even releases endorphins that create a better mood. However, we must be careful when engaging in physical activity. Overindulging in some exercises leads to a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis. (2)
Use hot and cold compresses.
One of the most popular ways to relieve arthritis pain is applying cold and hot compresses. By applying heat, we can soothe our aching joints and muscles. Taking showers, baths, or carrying a heating pad are great ways to get rid of pain.
On the other hand, cold compresses also work. Cold compresses cause blood vessel restriction, which both numbs pain and keeps swelling down. When it comes to applying cold compresses, it’s important to only use them in 20-minute intervals. Otherwise, extended periods of cold exposure puts us at higher risk of injury. (3)
Sometimes, the stress we deal with because of arthritis makes our symptoms even worse. Therefore, it’s a good idea to practice meditation to keep our stress levels under control. With lower cortisol levels, we experience less inflammation and pain.
A recent study showed that when we participate in mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises, we boost our immune systems and reduce overall arthritis symptoms. For those of us looking for quick relief, meditation may not be the solution. Mastering mindful meditation takes time and patience. Therefore, it’s best for us to combine this with other remedies until we’re good at it.
Make some diet changes.
Of course, we’re likely to face arthritis symptoms at some point. However, we do have some control over how severe the symptoms become. For instance, what we eat plays a role in the amount of inflammation we experience.
When we eat lots of red meat, saturated fat, and processed foods, our bodies produce more inflammation. They also cause us to gain weight, which puts more pressure on our bones and joints. Common foods we should avoid include: -Gluten (wheat, barley, and rye) -Fast food -Cereal -Baked goods -Alcohol -Large quantities of red meat -Dairy and cheese with a high fat content -Omega-3 fatty acids -Salt -Fried foods
Instead of consuming these foods, it’s better to eat a nutritious diet. The best foods to keep inflammation down and boost our immune system include: -Fatty fish (mackerel, salmon, trout, etc.) -Garlic -Ginger -Walnuts -Berries -Leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, etc.) -Olive oil
In addition to eating these nutrient-rich foods, we must also drink water. Water helps our bodies flush toxins that lead to inflammation. Adding antioxidant-rich fruits and herbs to our water boosts its effectiveness against inflammation.
Of course, our diets play an important role in our overall health and arthritis symptoms. However, to boost the effectiveness of a healthy diet, it’s wise for us to use supplements. Depending on the type of arthritis, certain doctors will require a supplement in addition to medication.
For instance, for those of us taking glucocorticoids for osteoarthritis, doctors recommend taking calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D supplements help reduce some of the symptoms and after effects of prescribed steroids. (4)
Keep in mind, depending on our diet and existing health, doctors may decide supplements aren’t the answer. Before taking any supplements, we have to consult our healthcare providers to avoid complications.
Try using CBD products.
Since its legalization, many arthritis patients have been jumping on the CBD train. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound commonly found in hemp plants. It has numerous health benefits including pain relief and reduced inflammation. Unlike THC, another compound found in hemp and cannabis plants, we won’t feel the psychotropic, or high, side effects.
CBD comes in lots of forms. We can take them in tincture form sublingually or as an edible gummy. We can also mix liquid forms into our meals. For flare-ups, we can use topical CBD cream or oil rub it into the swollen joint for relief. This method often works quicker than taking CBD orally.
Like with any other treatment, there are a couple of potential setbacks. For one, the taste won’t be pleasant for all of us. Also, if we take medications for other conditions, CBD can negatively impact the effectiveness of those medications. In rare cases, CBD may make us feel dizzy, fatigued, or nauseous depending on the quality of the product.
Before taking any form of CBD, it’s best to speak to our healthcare providers. Once cleared, we must do adequate research before purchasing a CBD product for optimal results.
Experiment with essential oils.
It’s no secret that the pain associated with arthritis causes a domino effect on other aspects of our lives. For instance, the stress associated with dealing with this disease can lead to other health problems. For some of us, the pain is so severe that it keeps us up all night.
An easy way to deal with multiple arthritis symptoms is aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses scents to activate certain receptors in your nervous system. When we smell certain aromas, they help boost our mood, immune system, and ability to sleep. One of the best ways to use aromatherapy is with essential oils.
For example, by smelling scents like eucalyptus, frankincense, and lavender oil, we reduce pain, anxiety, and get a better night’s sleep. Turmeric essential oil also helps improve circulation and inflammation. We can add them to our baths and showers, put them in a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil, or add them to a diffuser to reap their benefits.
When it comes to using essential oils, we have to be careful. For one, forgetting to dilute essential oils can burn or irritate our skin. We should also never ingest essential oils, even if they’re diluted. (5)
Also, all essential oils aren’t created equally, so when we’re oil shopping, we have to look for 100% pure essential oil.
Although it may be hard at times, we must do our best to get enough sleep. When we don’t get enough rest, we become even more vulnerable to pain and stiffness. Plus, we’re more likely to put on weight, which causes further pain and flare-ups.
Therefore, we have to work a bit harder to get to sleep every night. Creating routines, keeping a clean room, and incorporating aromatherapy before it’s time to lay down are simple yet effective ways to fall asleep easily. We also should avoid consumption right before bed to improve insomnia symptoms.
Until there's a cure, we have to try our best to keep our arthritis symptoms at bay. With these natural remedies, we can provide relief for various levels of pain and discomfort. We also improve our mood, sleep, and overall quality of life. In addition to using natural remedies, we must also regularly practice our health regimens for optimal health.
- (1) A Visual History of Arthritis, https://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/history-of-arthritis#page=2
- (2) Too Much Exercise May Pose Arthritis Risk, https://www.webmd.com/osteoarthritis/news/20091130/too-much-exercise-may-pose-arthritis-risk
- (3) Everything You Need to Know About Ice Burn, https://www.healthline.com/health/ice-burn
- (4) 6 Vitamins and Supplements for Inflammatory Arthritis That Doctors Approve, https://creakyjoints.org/alternative-medicine/vitamins-supplements-inflammatory-arthritis/
- (5) Essential Oils- Health Warning, https://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/A_E/Essential-oils